Jacob Holdt is showing a selection of some 200 photographs, handpicked from four decades of work documenting the injustices of the American human condition. Faith, Hope, and Love, is ongoing until February 7th at Lousiana Museum for Moderne Kunst, in Humlebæk, Denmark, near Copenhagen.
Jacob Holdt captures the insider scene, intimate frames telltale of the gross disparity between the have’s and the have-not’s in the United States. Taken together, the collection outdoes the normal ability of the viewer to bear witness to an event; it is a salient report on the contingency of life chances, and a competent reply to the-world-is-your-oyster mythology. Viewers are necessarily taken aback and empathized by this poignant, in-your-face presentation. The photographs are further authorized by the option to use your mobile phone to listen to Holdt narrate the footage.
Jacob Holdt was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1947, the son of a Danish minister. In 1970, with about a mere forty dollars to his name, Holdt intended only to pass through the US and into South America from Canada. Instead, he stayed on more than five years chronicling American society with a cheap camera–hitchhiking his way across country and staying with hundreds of families who invited him into their homes (and who ran the gamut from pauperized farm workers to the silk-stocking Rockefeller’s). He published a compilation of his work upon returning to Denmark, American Pictures (1977). Now he is a lecturer and writer besides photographer, and has presented slideshows of his work in hundreds of American institutions of higher education and abroad.